The price increase causes financial difficulties for 45% of US households and the omicron variant would make the situation worse

As the peak of holiday shopping approaches and heating costs rise in the face of winter temperatures in the US, 45% of US households are experiencing “financial difficulties” due to rising prices. in the country, as showed a poll conducted by the Gallup polling agency.

Of them, 10% describe it as a “severe difficulty“It affects their standard of living, while the remaining 35% say that the difficulty is moderate. low-income Americans and lower educational level are the most affected.

Among households with incomes below $ 40,000 a year, 71% say inflation is causing them problems. Based on education level, 54% of those without a college degree describe price increases as causing financial difficulties, a percentage that is reduced to 30% in the case of those with higher education.

American Consumer Confidence

The results of this survey are in accordance with the confidence of the American consumer, which in November fell to a nine-month low. In this sense, concerns about the increase in the cost of living reflect a decrease in purchase intentions in the next six months of houses or expensive items such as vehicles and some electrical appliances.

The economist and former director of the International Monetary Fund for the Western Hemisphere, Claudio Loser, in statements to MRT, believes that consumer confidence “is affected” by three elements: the price, the availability of certain goods and the fear of losing your job. Loser notes that unemployment has reached “very low” levels, compared to the post-pandemic period. Nevertheless, “people are afraid that wages do not move or income does not move as fast as prices, “he says.

The US consumer confidence index was measured before the discovery of the omicron variant of the coronavirus, so there are fears that the situation gets worse; at a time when data suggested that the country’s economy was accelerating in the fourth quarter of 2021, with consumer spending increasing and subsidy requests for unemployment at a minimum.

Fears for the omicron variant

Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen has stated that omicron could cause “major issues“for the global economy, although she indicated that its possible impact is still being evaluated. However, she said she is ready to stop use the word “transitory” when describing the current state of inflation, in line with the position of the US Federal Reserve.

The interannual inflation of last October in the United States was 6.2%, the highest in 30 years. On the possibility of reducing Trump-era tariffs on imported products from China to alleviate inflation, Yellen believes that the measure could help, but in any case it would not definitively change the situation.

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